A few weeks ago, I went to CPOSC and won a door prize: a free Linode 512 for 3 months! I recently received an email that furnished me with my account credentials and details. I couldn't wait to play around, so I immediately dropped what I was doing and hopped right in!
So far, I'm pretty impressed. I decided to allocate all of my disk and RAM resources to a single VM instance, so I currently have a machine in the cloud running Ubuntu 10.04 LTS with 512MB of ram and a 16GB disk. The first thing to note is that having a machine imaged takes almost no time at all. I selected the OS, allocated the resources, and I had a machine in < 5 minutes. I was then impressed again with the speed of the machine. Once I was able to SSH in, I installed some packages (PHP, PostgreSQL, Tomcat, Apache, and a few others). The instance was very snappy and responsive through the install process. Last, but not least, the web interface for managing my Linode account is pretty awesome. The interface is very nicely laid out, very responsive, and generally awe inspiring (I wish I could make interfaces that nice). They even provide an AJAX terminal into your instance should you be locked out for some reason!
I'm hoping to spend a little more time playing around with my new toy. I need a place to host JSP applications for my BDPA students, so I might be interested in keeping this instance once my free trial expires. We'll see how it handles once I start placing a regular load on it.